The Digital Path to Social Media Success

Guest post by Jason Cormier of Room 214. Room 214 is an agency that uses InfiniGraph insights for their clients and new business pitches.

digital-path-to-success

How social media is being integrated with the whole of digital marketing is one of the greatest momentums we’re now witnessing as marketers.

A great example of this can be seen in Jermiah Owyang’s presentation with Larry Drebes, unveiling recent research that demonstrates the desire and importance of marketers making their websites and social networks work together harmoniously.

Some of these concepts are still in their infancy, so we can all appreciate how Owyang openly refers to “new practices” instead of “best practices.” With this in mind, I’m sharing a model I hope will prove helpful to your own approach to social/digital marketing.

Don’t sweat being unable read the small type in the infographic above, as the core elements to each (zoomed in) section are outlined within the body of this post.

1. Business Intelligence

digital-path-to-succcess-intelligence

This part of the path encompasses internal and external data collection that should be leveraged to guide your strategy and shape your ideas.

Practically, this begins with a combination of consumer research, web analytics, and social media monitoring/research. The goal is to interpret the data to uncover what’s working and what’s trending. This is where you can begin to identify opportunities backed by more than just your good ideas.

We consider the “brand filter” as a means of keeping ideas true to the DNA or character of your brand – and this may also include considerations with respect to your resources, history, and customer expectations.

2. Content Creation and Curation

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Content is kin_. Sorry, that’s me trying to add a little more interest to a statement overly used but completely true. You know the drill.

There’s some natural redundancy here, but this approach to content for digital marketing comes in four flavors:

  1. Useful Content: You’ll want to consider and plan for content that is:
    • Easy for people to share.
    • Data-driven.
    • Can extend to multiple networks and platforms (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, mobile, etc.).
    • Always links to the brand’s position and conviction statements.
  2. Content Types: This addresses what the content does and where it comes from:
    • Building trust: Reviews, testimonials, case studies, personal insights, social proofs.
    • Education: Survey data, presentations, infographics, video scribes, FAQs, white papers, how-to’s.
    • Conversion: Promotional offerings, sales and advertising copy.
    • Other People’s Content: User-generated content (UGC), community discussions, republished, shared.
  3. Short-Term vs. Long-Term: This addresses intentionality and shelf life:
    • Brand / Conviction Focused: “Evergreen” content that can be repurposed.
    • Supporting Themes: Content with the propensity to attract broad audiences.
    • Campaign Focused: Content used to drive specific interactions.
  4. “Psychological Sharing Motivations”: This addresses what inspires people to share:
    • Emotion: The feeling the content has created.
    • Information: Content that is new and/or highly interesting.
    • Self Expression: Content that exemplifies our personality to friends.

3. Activation and Acquisition

digital-path-to-succcess-context

This part of the path addresses the digital extension of offline efforts as well as online assets and methodologies to initiate measurable action.

Again, there is natural overlap – but whether your company is seeking to develop short-term marketing campaigns or over-arching customer relationship management (CRM) efforts, the objective is to get the following elements working together:

  • PR: Integration of media and influencer relations that drive awareness.
  • Email: Messaging, segmentation, and lead nurturing.
  • Paid Media: Digital, print, and broadcast.
  • Partnerships: Leveraging the established presence and work of others.
  • Owned Media: Brand pages, mobile, web, social applications, and private communities.
  • Search Visibility: Organic and social search optimization.

4. Engagement

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This area of the path is what should ultimately feed back into your business intelligence. As Coca-Cola’s marketing team has taught us, “expressions trump impressions.”

The reality with social: this is often where companies mistakenly focus first. They’ll see some application eye candy on Facebook, lay some cash out for their own branded version of it, then start backing in supporting content and considerations around what might be more relevant as the magic campaign launch date approaches.

Final Thoughts

Like any model, it’s easy to identify what’s missing. I can think of many other elements that could be relevant – while also acknowledging potential points of confusion with respect to platforms, descriptions, the linear order of execution, etc.

Have at it friends! Would love to get your take, or suggestions on how this model could be more useful.

10 Types Of Content We All Crave: Content Marketer’s Essential Guide

We now live in an attention economy, where it’s harder and harder to get the attention of multitasking multi-device consumers. More and more companies are acting like publishers, creating killer content and using techniques like native advertising / Content Recommendation to garner further engagement. That’s how they get attention and mindshare. More and more marketers are curious about what kind of content people love. Some of the answers are here.

We originally posted 21 types of content people crave. These were seen by more than 675K people, generating 110 comments and 520 shares. Our summary top 10 graphic was seen by yet more. Based on the feedback we got, and our own research using InfiniGraph, we narrowed it down to what we think are the 10 most important. Let’s explore what those are and how you can use them in this blog post.


Original graphic came from Scott Aughtmon (@rampbusinesses)http://www.RecessionSolution.com posted on ContentMarketingInstitute.com

1. Reveal Secrets

I’m going to tell you a secret. Just kidding. See how that works? We pay attention. No one wants to be uninformed, or at a disadvantage from a lack of knowledge. InfiniGraph is in the business of telling secrets about social media to CMO’s. There are content pieces, themes, and strategies already working, either in your niche or another- if you only knew what it was. Contact us and we’ll let InfiniGraph tell you some secrets.

2. Remind Us That Dreams Can Come True

Life is tough. Sometimes it’s great. Sometimes it sucks. We are fueled by our goals and our dreams. People love your Facebook page if it helps them believe in and achieve their dreams- whether that’s riding a mountain bike in the desert, or achieving financial freedom with their own business, or just enjoying good times with their friends. Every company has customers and all of those customers have individual and shared dreams. Tap into people’s dreams and drive them forward. Your products and services are just a means to the end. What’s the end?

3. David Defeats Goliath

Luke Skywalker. Hunger Games. Ender’s Game. The American Revolution. Ghandi. Martin Luther King Jr. They all are empowering stories because the little guy can win sometimes. And hope is a very powerful fuel that most of could use a bit more of.

4. Remind Us That We Matter

Everyone can’t be the President or Tom Cruise. Everyone is important. Sometimes we forget that. And how many problems could we solve if the disempowered were empowered and given a role? How much more could each of us do if we believed in ourselves and the part we play?

5. Confirm Our Assumptions (Tell Us We’re Right)

Nobody wants to be wrong. We want more and better information, but we also want confirmation that we haven’t been on the completely wrong track. That’s why it’s so powerful to tell someone that what they’re saying is valuable. Our emotions and pride get mixed up with out knowledge, so we feel more comfortable when people are confirming that at least some of our ideas are already right.

Is this at odds with #8? We’ll talk about that below.

6. Expose Unexpected Twists

Surprise! We love surprises. We love new information, new patterns, new revelations. In fact, one theory of humor is that we laugh when a comedian makes a new connection in your brain. Two things had never been connected before, and it’s hilarious how they now make sense together. Horror comes from the same place- surprise, but bad news, dangerous revelations- finding out that you aren’t as safe as you thought you were. Whether it’s comedy or tragedy, we love it.

Keep in mind that the best way to get someone to do something new is to scare them. Kinda like how if you don’t use InfiniGraph and your competitors do, you might lose mindshare and revenues. ;-) It’s true!

7. Tell Us A Story

The most popular forms of entertainment have always been stories. From the oral tradition of Homer’s Odyssey to Shakespeare to Hollywood, people crave stories. Stories scare, amuse and inspire us. They give us perspective. They help us live and work better. Or they just help us escape our own lives for awhile. Either way, they’re powerful attention grabbers, and while you have that attention, you can influence your listeners.

8. Challenge Our Assumptions (Tell Us We’re Wrong!)

Now you’re telling me I’m wrong? How dare you! Wait- at least you have my attention. The power of the contrarian is shocking people into wondering if they’ve been thinking about this all wrong. You can use it to grab attention, but then you’d better back it up. If you don’t, people will like you less for having fooled them. Even if you do have a valid and true contrarian point to make, end your content with some affirmation and make sure you’ve given people a way to deal with the new information constructively. Now you’ve created value- a type of value that differentiates you in the marketplace.

9. Inspire Us To Act

We’re always moving. Even when we sleep our minds are moving forward, exploring and acting. We want to go somewhere. We want you to help us get there. We don’t want to be depressed or stymied. Sometimes we’re stuck because we’re uninspired. Sometimes we don’t have the tools we need. Sometimes we stop believing we can get there. Whether it’s by inspiring, empowering, or leading, inspire your customers to act in a way that moves them toward their goals and dreams.

10. Make Us Laugh Or Smile

Who doesn’t want to be happy? Ok, depressed people don’t. But we want people to associate our brand with positive emotions. What’s more likely to get shared- things that make people feel good, that they can pass on to their friends and make them feel better? Or things that depress you? Who wants to share something like that? They say that fear gets people to try new things, but affirmation gets them to continue. So maybe your content is a mix of 10% alerting people to problems and 90% positive.

Then What?

You have to get attention and awareness before people can choose to buy from you. Having fans isn’t enough- because of Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm, you might not reach them all. Engaging content means visible content. And then if it’s persuasive, that means revenue. The same issue exists with Twitter- how many people actually see your tweets? Are they looking right now or doing something else? Clicks can be a better measure than followers. So learn the lessons of what kinds of content people crave, then make sure your content is also persuasive, and watch the cash register ring.

Start using InfiniGraph today to see brand insights, the brands your fans share, and the hottest content in your niche.

Content Marketing Smackdown: Salesforce Beats Hubspot [Infographic]

“Two brands enter. One brand leads.”

Salesforce beats Hubspot. See more CRM company comparisons.

We’re super excited about this smackdown series. Do you like it? We’ll be comparing the content interaction leaders in each vertical, as well as showing you how each industry leader compares to others industry leaders. For example, who wins if we pit Kobe Bryant against Coca Cola? Stay tuned. :-)

Social Smackdown: Coca Cola Outperforms Pepsi [Infographic]

Coca Cola beats Pepsi.

“Two brands enter. One brand leads.”

Click to see even more brands in the beverages industry comparison.

We’re super excited about this smackdown series. Do you like it? We’ll be comparing the content interaction leaders in each vertical, as well as showing you how each industry leader compares to others industry leaders. For example, who wins if we pit Kobe Bryant against Coca Cola? Stay tuned. :-)

Introducing Industry Pages: Compete.com For Content Marketing Intelligence

We’re debuting a free level of competitive intelligence for content marketing, and we think it addresses a serious shift in digital marketing that’s only become clear in the second half of 2012, the shift to content marketing:

Pure conversations are no longer the primary kind of online interaction. We’ve switched to conversations focused on content.

Facebook dominates the social graph, and its activity is mostly focused on content (photos, videos, status updates and links). Twitter has always been a place to share and discuss links and photos. Content interaction has become predominant in part because of the network and real limitations of person-to-person interaction, even online. Facebook’s person-to-person interaction is limited to closed private networks, and when it’s more public, interaction between strangers is usually in comments on content. Twitter is also important (but has about one-tenth the users and activity of Facebook), and enables both person-to-person and people-to-content interaction. Twitter has been a busy place for people to publicly converse, but only a segment of users are interested in engaging in this way.

The Network Effect says that once a critical mass of people are in a network, such as Twitter, or Facebook, or LinkedIn, or even telephones, it becomes useful. But the Network Effect doesn’t mean we can interact with an infinite number of people. Person-to-person interaction has serious limitations. Dunbar’s number is the idea that humans can only maintain stable relationships with about 150 people. We have our own “tribes”. However, content can go viral, in that it can cross from tribe to tribe only if it has value beyond your own tribes.

Each tribe likes certain types of content. Each business vertical or niche is one kind of tribe. For example, there’s the mountain biking tribe, and even though they may live all over the world, they can see content via Trek’s Facebook Page, and pass it on to other aficionados. If enough mountain bikers are in touch, a great piece of content about mountain biking can travel to a majority of them. But people who don’t mountain bike and are more obsessed with comic books won’t care.

Friends don’t always share the same interests. This is a limitation of Facebook’s friends dynamic- even if I have 150 friends, chances are that I only share a few serious passions with each one. I may only have three to five serious passions I spend money around. And personally, I’ve noticed that some of my interests are so obscure (for example, I’m a huge fan of the band YES) that I don’t have ANY local friends who share these interests. I have to go global with a Facebook page or group to interact with them. Or I see them when I’m listening to music on spotify or rdio.

Based on the data, we of InfiniGraph believe that content, and how people respond to it, is the most important thing in marketing- much more important than person-to-person relationships. Social media has made websites social and is powered by a variety of social networks. These are vessels for hot content.

How do you reach the right people and persuade them to buy? You must have great content that is relevant and viral. If you’re Dunkin Donuts and you’re trying to get me to buy more donuts, you need to create content that both makes me want to buy a donut now and is something I’d share with my friends. Perhaps it’s a coupon AND a funny joke about justifying your donut addiction. This is why content marketing is growing so quickly as a discipline.

Here’s what you need to understand if you want to win in content marketing: whether you already are, or not, you need to be the strongest voice in your niche. You need to understand that your fans are interacting with other pages, and not just in your niche. For example, Home Depot has many fans who also are fans of Dunkin Donuts. So not only does Home Depot need to be as interesting as Donuts, they also could offer a free coupon to Dunkin Donuts with every $100 purchase. There are strategic insights and there is more competition for your fans’ attention than you think.

Which brings us to our Industry Pages debut. We’re releasing 40 Industry Pages.

  • Each summarizes the content marketing data across Facebook and Twitter for from five to 22 brands per niche, in 18 reports per industry
  • Below each chart you’ll see the hottest content in the niche. Which posts are creating the greatest interaction?
  • You can click on any brand to see more detailed content intelligence for that brand. For example, what other Facebook and Twitter accounts do that brand’s fans interact with?
  • Go try them out now!

The amount of data here is staggering, and all free. We’ll be releasing more industry pages every week. They are also a demo of our customized report capabilities for your company.

New Content Intelligence Industry Pages: